Meitei Script: Newspapers, the last holdouts of Bengali script in Manipur, given ultimatum to switch to Meetei Mayek next month

Source: The post is based on the article Newspapers, the last holdouts of Bengali script in Manipur, given ultimatum to switch to Meetei Mayek next monthpublished in The Hindu on 12th December 2022

What is the News?

Newspapers in Manipur are working towards replacing the Bengali script that’s currently in use with Meitei or the Manipuri script.

What is Meitei Script?

Meitei script or Meetei Mayek is an abugida (pseudo-alphabet system) used for the Meitei language, one of the official languages of Manipur.

Origin of Meitei script: According to the Sahitya Akademi, the history of the Meetei Mayek script dates back to at least the 6th century and was in use till the 18th century. 

Decline of Meitei script: In 1709, a Hindu missionary named Shantidas Gosai came to Kangleipak — the ancient name for the independent kingdom of Manipur — to spread Vaishnavism. 

He mesmerized the kings and the high officials of the palace, and on royal orders, all religious and other precious books in Meitei Mayek were incinerated, and new ones were written in the Bengali script.

Revival of Meitei script: The Manipuri language was included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution in 1992 but in Bengali script.

– However, Meetei Mayek has seen a revival in the 21st century, with an initial shift to the Manipuri script in educational institutions and an amendment of the Manipur Official Language Act in 2021 to mandate the phasing out of Bengali script over the next ten years.

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